Highly effective people use empathetic language that demonstrates their desire for deep understanding. In helping clients working to develop this skill, some have asked, "What do I say"? While many uses of our language can be considered, here are three examples.
"I want to understand."
This language conveys intention. Your tone, body positioning, and eye contact need to convey your sincere desire to understand their perspective and promote open, candid conversations.
"Tell me more."
This language gets people talking. It prompts them to open up and share their experiences. By encouraging them to express themselves further, you better understand what's most important to them.
"What kind of support might be helpful?"
Instead of asking "How can I help you?" or "What kind of help do you need?", this question helps the person set aside relationships and ego. Now they view support from a broader, oftentimes more rational perspective.
Remember, empathetic communication is more than specific phrases. It's also about the underlying attitudes and behaviors that promote understanding and trust. It's essential to be present, genuinely listen, and speak sincerely.
Questions to Consider
Which of these examples have you seen others use effectively?
Which example can you see yourself trying?
What other examples have you used that worked?